Open educational resources (OER) offer a host of benefits to students and faculty, according to a new study of 38 community colleges across 13 states.
More than 60 percent of students in the participating community colleges say they experienced a higher-quality learning experience in an OER course compared to a typical course.
The two-year study, conducted by SRI International and rpk GROUP and released by Achieving the Dream (ATD), is among the first to examine the direct costs to institutions for supporting broad expansion of OER and degree pathways, and the direct cost for implementing OER degrees is roughly $500,000 per institution over two years.
Creating OER courses and degrees is often time-consuming, but instructors in several community colleges said they changed their instruction as a direct result of working with the open materials.
Using OER materials helped the instructors align materials better with learning goals, and instructors who were already using student-centered and hands-on learning strategies said the materials helped them enhance their practices.
Some instructors also saw students engaging more with the materials than with textbooks, possibly because they are more relevant and students can be involved in creating their learning experience.
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